Week 16 was a rough one for us. We took a couple risks that didn’t pay off. I honestly thought the Browns would play much better against the Bears and that the Lions would show up to play against the lowly Bengals.
Week 17 is full of landmines since some last-minute changes could mean players end up resting and taking the week off. Keep track of possible playoff outcomes and what their head coaches are saying this week.
Every game this week is on Sunday, so this could be a rare time to completely waste your money and put a few jellybeans on a 16-team parlay…which would have odds somewhere in-between astronomical and impossible. I don’t recommend anyone ever do this unless it’s a gag and is only a few bucks.
We pick ever NFL game against the spread and throw out a few upsets in Week 17 of the 2017 NFL season.
Chicago Bears at Minnesota Vikings (-10.5) – My pick is Minnesota Vikings
The Vikings have only had one underwhelming performance since QB Case Keenum took over as the starter. That game was at Carolina three weeks ago, which was the only game a Keenum-led team has failed to cover. Minnesota has all the motivation in the world to play all-out since a win gets them a first-round bye in the playoffs. I know Bears rookie QB Mitchell Trubisky has looked more like an NFL quarterback recently, but the Vikings defense is on another level. I don’t think he will have much success in Minnesota, so I’m taking the Vikings to cover.
New York Jets at New England Patriots (-15) – My pick is New England Patriots
The Patriots need a win or a Steelers loss to securing home-field advantage in the playoffs. The Patriots are another team that has been a near-automatic cover the last ten games. They did have that stinker at Miami, but the rest have been consistent, dominant wins. I am a bit shaky to bet on a favorite in the NFL on a point spread over two touchdowns, but I’m not a fan of Jets QB Bryce Petty. If QB Josh McCown didn’t break his hand, this game would probably be around a -10 line or less. The Patriots just have to stack the box to stop Jets RB Bilal Powell and they should cover this one at home.
Washington Redskins at New York Giants (+3) – My pick is Washington Redskins
The Giants are butt-ugly team right now. They are fighting among themselves and are not a very good football team. The Redskins have dealt with injuries all season and are a better team than their record suggests. It would be success to end the season .500 after losing TE Jordan Reed for most of the season and RB Chris Thompson for the last half-dozen. They should make quick work of the Giants and cover on the road.
Dallas Cowboys at Philadelphia Eagles (+3) – My pick is Dallas Cowboys
The Eagles have nothing to gain on Sunday since they have already locked-in home-field advantage in the NFC. I still expect QB Nick Foles to play some in this game because let’s face it, the guy still need some more in-game action heading into the postseason. He may not play the entire game, but he should start. The Cowboys need a strong showing in this game to build their confidence back. They are eliminated from the playoffs, but QB Dak Prescott needs to end the year on a much better performance. The last time these two teams faced each other, Dak was on his back for most of the game with starting LT Tyron Smith out. They lost the game 37-9 and the whispers of ‘maybe Dak isn’t the future for Dallas’ started to become louder after that game. This game should still be pretty close since the Eagles backfield can keep them in the game, regardless of their quarterback. I have to take the Cowboys since head coach Jason Garrett could be coaching for his job.
Cleveland Browns at Pittsburgh Steelers (-11) – My pick is Pittsburgh Steelers
The Steelers have already earned a first-round bye in the playoffs, but can get home-field advantage with a win AND a Patriots loss. Both teams have pretty gimme games on paper, but the Browns are facing a possible 0-16 year. They played like dog shit last week against the Bears, so it’s hard to really get behind him against a much better Steelers team. Pittsburgh hasn’t been a very good betting team this season. They haven’t covered a double-digit point spread this season. Their previous game against the Browns was back in Week 1 and they only won by a field goal…but you can’t really glean much in comparison to this game. I hate Browns QB DeShone Kizer in this game and the Steelers would kick themselves if they didn’t give 100% effort and the Patriots lose to the Jets. Home-field advantage will be huge in the AFC. I’m taking the Steelers to cover at home.
Green Bay Packers at Detroit Lions (-6) – My pick is Detroit Lions
The Lions and Packers have both been eliminated from the playoffs over the last two weeks. This game is pretty difficult to handicap since Packers QB Brett Hundley has shown absolutely zero ability to be a winning quarterback in the NFL. On the other side, the Lions are coming off an embarrassing loss to the shitty Bengals. They were almost single-handedly beaten by backup RB Giovani Bernard. He ran for 116 yards and caught seven passes for 52 yards and one touchdown. I expect the Packers to attack the Lions with short passes, but man, Hundley isn’t accurate. The Lions defense should be good enough to cover this game by a touchdown at home.
Houston Texans at Indianapolis Colts (-4) – My pick is Indianapolis Colts
This match-up pits two of the worst secondaries in the NFL against each other. The Colts have QB Jacoby Brissett, who has been pretty darn good this season and the Texans have QB T.J. Yates, who is their (fourth-string?) quarterback. Yates have had success on the Texans in previous years, but their defense is so bad that it doesn’t matter who starts at QB for them. Brissett should end the season on a high note and the Colts should cover at home.
Buffalo Bills at Miami Dolphins (+2.5) – My pick is Buffalo Bills
It’s unbelievable that the Bills are technically still alive for the playoffs. They will need a win AND a loss by the Chargers or a win AND a Ravens loss. The Bills defeated the Dolphins 24-16 in Buffalo just two weeks ago. The Bills dominated the game and the Dolphins made the final score respectable by scoring ten points in the fourth quarter. Miami QB Jay Cutler threw three interceptions and no touchdowns. They needed a all-around great game from RB Kenyan Drake to keep it less than double-digits. The Bills allowed QB Tyrod Taylor to play his game with efficient passing and with his legs. RB LeSean McCoy didn’t have a very good per-touch average, but the sheer volume of work was enough to beat up the Dolphins. I doubt Cutler will cough up the ball as many times as he did in their last match-up, but the Bills should cover this small spread on the road.
Carolina Panthers at Atlanta Falcons (-4) – My pick is Carolina Panthers
This is one of the few games that both teams are still in the hunt for the playoffs. The Panthers have already clinched a spot in the playoffs, but could finish as high as the #2 seed with a win and help and as low as the #5 seed with a loss and other outcomes. Atlanta will earn a berth in the playoffs with a win or with a loss AND a Seattle loss. The Panthers are a good home team and the reason they have sneaked back into the playoff race is the fact that five out of their last seven games have been at home. The Falcons are also a better team at home and luckily this one is in Atlanta. I think the Falcons will probably still win this game outright, but just like their first match-up (20-17 Carolina win), this one could be very close. I have to take the points here.
New Orleans Saints at Tampa Bay Buccaneers (+6.5) – My pick is Tampa Bay Buccaneers
The Saints are already in the playoffs, but they are still playing for a possible first-round home game. The Saints are expected to play hard, but they are hoping to come out of this game with a win AND with all their guys healthy. Which one is more important? I’m guessing the health will be most important, so expect a run-heavy offense and eating of the clock. The Bucs haven’t been very good outright, but they haven’t been beaten by more than a touchdown in their last four games (2-2 ATS). Do they have glaring weaknesses? Yes, but they are staying within the margin, especially at home. I have to take the points here.
Jacksonville Jaguars at Tennessee Titans (-3) – My pick is Jacksonville Jaguars
The Jaguars have already won the AFC South and are locked in the third spot in the AFC. The Titans come into this game with a three-game losing streak, but could still get a Wild Card spot. The Titans just need a win and their are in or a loss AND losses by both the Bills and Chargers. Titans RB DeMarco Murray is dealing with a knee injury, but is expected to play through it…but they could give the larger share of carries to Derrick Henry. The Jags would like a win to end the season and head coach Doug Marrone said that his healthy starters will play. I don’t see them rolling over and letting the Titans in the playoffs in what could be a match-up again next week. I’m taking the points here.
Cincinnati Bengals at Baltimore Ravens (-10) – My pick is Baltimore Ravens
Bengals QB Andy Dalton imploded in Week 1 against the Ravens with four interceptions on their way to being shutout at home. The Bengals are a bad road team and will have another bad game. Will it be as bad as Week 1? I doubt Cincinnati will allow Dalton to throw in risky situations. The Ravens are in the playoff race and will earn a spot with a win or a loss AND if the Bills or Titans lose. Baltimore has too much to lose and should have the winning gameplan against a divisional rival, so I’m taking them to cover.
Arizona Cardinals at Seattle Seahawks (-9.5) – My pick is Arizona Cardinals
Seattle is still in the playoff race, but would need a win AND a Falcons loss to get in. Their offensive line could be one of the worst in the NFL. They have little-to-no running game and QB Russell Wilson is just out there running for his life. I don’t trust them to beat Arizona by double-digits to cover this one, so I’m taking the points.
Kansas City Chiefs at Denver Broncos (-3.5) – My pick is Kansas City Chiefs
The Chiefs are locked into the #4 spot in the AFC and will start rookie QB Patrick Mahomes in this game. The offense should look pretty different with Mahomes big arm in the game. I’m really interested in just watching this contest. Denver’s defense has a lot of former Pro Bowlers, but are they already thinking about the offseason? I don’t trust Denver to score many points and will have a hard time covering, so I’m taking the points here.
Oakland Raiders at Los Angeles Chargers (-7.5 – My pick is Oakland Raiders
The Chargers are still barely in the playoff race. They need a win AND for the Jaguars and the Ravens to both lose. Raiders/Chargers games have been historically very tight. The road team is 6-0 against the spread in their last six match-ups. Also, the underdog is 15-2 ATS in their last 17 meetings. I just have to go with my gut here and take the points. I could be talked into maybe taking the Chargers here if this line slips under a touchdown.
San Francisco 49ers at Los Angeles Rams (+3) – My pick is San Francisco 49ers
Can the Niners end the season with their fifth-straight win under new QB Jimmy Garoppolo? The Rams are helping them by sitting QB Jared Goff, RB Todd Gurley and maybe a few other impact players. This one is a bit unpredictable since the Rams could completely punt the hell out of this game or maybe these backups could be motivated and try to get a win at home. I’m going with the ‘known’ here and taking the Niners to cover.
*These picks are for entertainment purposes
Sweetbob’s NFL picks against the spread record in previous seasons:
Bobby Roberts (otherwise known as Sweetbob) is the creator of ‘America’s White Boy’ and contributor at Project Shanks. His writing has been featured on ESPN’s ‘SportsNation’, Sports Illustrated’s Hot Clicks, Guyspeed, and various other sites. You can follow him on Twitter at @Sweetbob